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DevBlog: Territory Control

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(Posted Friday 24th of July 2015 on the DevBlog)

 

Territories are perhaps the single most important feature of a successful emergent geopolitics in the game. While the notion of a ?construct? (a building, a ship, a space station, etc) properly conveys the idea of private property, it fails to extend to the level of a territory, which you can picture as a collective public property. How can players declare certains areas as their territory? What does it mean exactly? Do we need territories in space? What is the link with Organizations? How do you manage hierarchies of territories (think of cities, regions, states, alliances, etc). Can we set some territories as secure (non PVP)? Let?s have a look and try to describe how we envision all these crucial questions in Dual.

 

The first question one might ask is why do we need territories? Well, in short, territories are politics. Not all of politics, but an important part of it: territories can be used by a set of players that have settled in the same area to decide who is allowed to join them, how to share the burden of collective investment in infrastructures, and basically what is allowed or not in this area. This, by definition, goes beyond the capability of any single player, especially for large territorial areas.

 

We will discuss in a future blog post how the notion of territory extends to space, introducing the notion of "bubble territories", but for the moment we will concentrate on the very specific topic of planetary territories. To simplify the process of planetary territory creation and definition, we have adopted the usual way of partitioning the surface of the planet with a large number of hexagonal tiles (note that you'll also marginally have 12 pentagons in the lot: there is no way to have an isotropic uniform tiling of a sphere). Tiles are about 1km large and for a 30km radius planet, it basically looks like this:

 

planete_hexagones_small.jpg

 

Territory tiles, or simply "tiles", extend from 1km above the ground to the center of the planet, partitioning the sphere completely. They are initially neutral but they can be claimed by a player or an organization by setting up a Territory Unit anywhere inside the tile (that can also be underground). Territory Units are rather rare and expensive units, made of materials that will be available only in remote areas away from the arkship, or even on other planets, and requiring advanced mining skills and tools. In other words, it will be close to impossible to build them at start. We expect certain players to specialize in the manufacturing of Territory Units, but even for them the challenge will be high, but then they can expect to get a very good price for them on the markets. We want the Territory Unit to be hard to make because we don't want a sort of gold rush at the start the game, that would favor early players and reduce the gameplay to "get as much TU as possible before it's too late".

 

Now, why would you like to use one of your Territory Unit to claim a territory tile (instead of selling it for a profit)? A territory tile is an asset like any other, and when you claim it, you become its owner. Like any other asset, a tile is associated to a set of powers that define what can be done with it. For example: whether you can enter it, create constructs on it, mine it, open a market in it, etc. Compared to a neutral tile, an owned tile does not bring much more to its owner, because the owner has all the rights on it. What is interesting however is that, like with any other owned asset powers, the owner is free to grant or limit these powers for anyone by associating them with appropriate tags (see the previous blog post of "Rights & Duties Management System", or "RDMS"). If those tags are granted with financial duties, the territory is effectively rented, against a certain monthly fee. So you can for example own a material rich territory and rent it for mining to a mining corporation. You can also decide that only very special people are allowed to build constructs on your territory, making sure that you surround yourself with friends, etc.

 

Suppose now that five players have claimed adjacent territories, on which they have already invited their friends. All these people get along pretty well, and they start to think that they would like to mutualize their efforts to protect the area, build a spaceport and create a sense of belonging to a greater collectivity. They want to build their nation! They can create an organization (see the blog post on Organizations) and sell their owned territories to it. But a less radical option is given by one of the mechanics of the RDMS: power delegation. When you delegate a power to an entity A, you give to A the "power of tagging". In other words, A gets the right to set tags for that power, and possibly also to remove the "owner" tag that grants you, the owner, the automatic right on that power. "A" becomes the administrator of the power. Now, you can use this for territories as well: delegate all or parts of the territory powers to an organization that will represent the nation you want to build.

 

The crucial difference of delegation compared to selling the territory tile is that a delegation can be removed, granting all the powers back to the owner. The other legates of the nation might not like it, and start a war on you, but you are free to try. We can take a parallel with real life: I can declare my garden to be an autonomous nation, stop paying my taxes and break the law, but soon enough, the cops or the military will get me back in line. The de-facto balance of power is making my secession impossible. In the same way, what will keep several tiles united under a same delegation of power in Dual is not some formal game mechanics, but the de-facto equilibrium between forces and mutual interests. In other words: geopolitics.

 

The delegation mechanism can extend over several levels of hierarchy. A city can delegate to a region that can delegate to a nation, a coalition, an alliance, etc. At any point, anyone in this hierarchy can break the delegation (and face the consequences). Large territorial organizations can also acquire territorial tiles from their currently delegated tiles, or simply claim new tiles by buying/crafting and then using Territory Units. It will be a matter of price, and a matter of strategy. Once owned, a tile can then be rented or given access for free to any member/legate of the organization. The price to pay might be seen as territory tax, used by the organization to finance the military protection of the territory, or the need for infrastructures.

 

Now, a few words about war. You can get control over a territory by "convincing" its owner or administrator to give a delegation to you, or, more traditionally, you can enter it, find the territory unit, destroy it and plant your own, or simply hack it. Expect it to be well hidden and well defended. Territory Units can also be grouped into centralized territory units: getting access to those can grant you control over several tiles at the same time, but of course they will be harder to conquer. Setting up a territory unit can take up to 24 hours, so the process of changing tile ownership is not an easy matter. By default, all delegations will be preserved in case of a change of ownership (which can also happen peacefully via selling), so you need to review the status to decide if you want to keep or break previous delegations. Delegations, like power granting, can come with warranties, so be careful of the price to pay before revoking past commitments.

 

Note that for management purposes, entities that own or administrate large numbers of tiles can group them together into virtual tiles that represent many of them. The only constraint here is that all tiles that are grouped into a virtual tile must share the same level of delegation/power granting, so that they can effectively be seen as a single territory.

 

One last very important point about territory tiles is the notion of "arkification". Arkification is the process by which you could turn your territory into a non-PvP area, similar to the safe area around the Arkship. Arkified tiles would be incredibly powerful areas, as they cannot be hacked, conquered, destroyed or tampered with in any way. No need to say, this notion is a very sensitive gameplay aspect, and we have not yet decided precisely how and if it can be integrated in the game. Alternatives to it is simply to say that you can hide your stuff deep underground on a remote planet, or within the heavily guarded castle of your powerful organization. But these ideas are not totally safe.

 

One idea we are playing with is that explorers in the game could sometime discover an "arkification token", a mysterious item that can be used to enhance a Territory Unit to the ?arkified? status. It would take about one week to arkify a territory tile, so it cannot be a quick and easy way to hide during battle. We are not sure however at this stage what kind of restrictions we should put on their use: if they are to be used as safe havens in remote areas, should we limit the right to arkify a tile to the fact that there is no other arkified tile in a given radius? No claimed tile at all? No construct even? Should it be allowed to de-arkify a tile (in other words: are tokens reusable)? What kind of abuse to the PvP gameplay should we fear? We are aware of how sensitive and complex these issues have been in other games, but we reckon that there must be a way for a player to feel reasonably safe about his/her assets when offline for long periods of time. We would like to have your opinion on this, start a debate about arkification or perhaps even other mechanisms.

 

The interplay of all these aspects is a complex emergent system of cross-interests, not unlike real world geopolitics and international business interests. We will have to test it heavily with the community to make sure that there is always an equilibrium and no obvious winning strategy. Meanwhile, we'll be very interested to know what you think about it!

 

JC Baillie,

Project Lead.

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One last very important point about territory tiles is the notion of "arkification". Arkification is the process by which you could turn your territory into a non-PvP area, similar to the safe area around the Arkship. Arkified tiles would be incredibly powerful areas, as they cannot be hacked, conquered, destroyed or tampered with in any way. No need to say, this notion is a very sensitive gameplay aspect, and we have not yet decided precisely how and if it can be integrated in the game. Alternatives to it is simply to say that you can hide your stuff deep underground on a remote planet, or within the heavily guarded castle of your powerful organization. But these ideas are not totally safe.

 

I think arktification can be handled pretty nicely if its linked to the type of organization its owned by.

Private property, guild owned tiles and similar should not be arkiticeable, but if organizations of the type "state" build a city on one or several tiles which is labeled as capital, then it should be arktifieable. That means every state-like organization which has a certain size can make their capital a safe-zone. At the same time that Arktification can be removed for other states which are officially in war with the tile owning organization. That gives the players a protection zone against other players or guilds but doesnt make it completely save forever.

 

Ofc rather than being a safe-zone in which attacking and killing is not possible i'd rather have one where its still possible, but where guard robots or drones will instakill any offender.

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Very good blog post here :D I really like the way territories are setup by hexagonal tiles and I also like that the territory nodes will be hard to get/make from the start because if they were easy to make right from the beginning there would be this massive land rush and that isn't a good thing lol. In addition to territory nodes being hard to make/get I also like how they have to be protected/hidden because they can be destroyed or hacked. This could make for some amazing wars/battles for the territory :D

 

Now I also have an idea that can be added on to the territory node/Centralized Territory Units part as well. The idea is to have the ability to make smaller Nodes that are linked to each Territory Node in a single territory tile that have to be destroyed/hacked first before you can go after the Territory Node. This is how it could work:

 

Say there is a max number of smaller nodes you can make and can be linked to the territory node (lets use 5 for the max number of nodes you can make/link to the territory node for example) that have to be destroyed/hacked first before going after the Territory Node. Now, lets say I only made 3 of the 5 because, also like the territory nodes, they are also quite hard to make. I then link the 3 smaller nodes to the Territory Node and now those smaller nodes have to be destroyed/hacked first before you can go after the territory node, however, it doesn't matter which order you go in for the smaller nodes to be destroyed/hacked. But lets also say that I placed those smaller nodes at different locations inside the territory as well so that way the attackers would have to attack 3 different locations, or take one at a time (or whatever the attackers strategy is lol), before going to destroy/hack the Territory Node. Now, lets say the attackers manage to destroy all 3 smaller nodes, they can now go after the territory node. I think having this option of making and linking smaller nodes, that have to be destroyed/hacked first before you can go for the Territory node, would provide better strategic combat/gameplay when in a war/battle. These smaller nodes would also be great at spreading out the war/battle across the territory and prevent it from cluttering into one location. These smaller nodes would also benefit factions/groups that have large bases/complexes/cities that are built on the territory because if there was only the Territory node for that territory, all that was built on that territory could be lost very quickly if that one single node gets destoryed/hacked. This would give more time for the faction/group/player(s) that own the territory to defend it. However, this is just an idea :)

 

Now, below are my idea's/thoughts/suggestions on Arkification:

 

I like the idea and I think it should be used as a Non-PvP area that acts as a safe haven in remote areas across the surface of the planet. In this Arkified Territory, players that own this territory can always Mine, Harvest, Trade, and build on it but no PvP should be permitted (except one exception that I'll mention below for PvP inside the Arkified tile). I also agree with limiting the right to Arkify a Tile to the fact that there is no other Arkified Tile in a given radius, so in short, I think that there shouldn't be too many of these. I also think in order to Arkify a tile, it should be a neutral tile and would use one of the Arkify Tokens that was mentioned. These tokens would be very rare to find as they should spawn randomly across the planet (In caves, on the surface, under the ocean, or pretty much anywhere lol). As for De-Arkifying a tile goes, I think to have a tile De-Arkified, all the the territories bordering it must be owned by the same faction/group/player. Now, I can see Arkified tiles having an affect on PvP battles/wars. I can see players using Arkified tiles as strategic staging points in their battle/war, but keep in mind, most likely, there will be players finding ways to abuse them as indestructible safe zones to attack out of. For example: to run out of the shield (or cross the border of the Arkified area), shoot at the enemy, then run back in because the other faction/group cant kill them because they are inside the safe zone. This would be one of the problems that would come from adding in Arkified Tiles/territories. One idea I had that could solve this is that if your faction is engaged in a battle/war, you are still flagged for PvP even inside the Arkified tile/territory but you can only be killed by the faction/group that you are at war with (this would be the one exception I mentioned earlier for PvP inside the Arkified tile).

 

Anyways, these are my thoughts/ideas/suggestions lol and I hope this helps :) This was a very good post and everything in it was also very well done. Keep up the great work! :D

 

p.s. That picture of the planet with the hexagonal tiles across it is awesome! :D It gives a great representation/visualization of what the territories would be like across the planet :D

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The treatment of territories as assets just like any other is excellent and allows for interesting organisation structures and intrigue.  I've got some concerns about how Territorial Units (TU's) will affect wars though.  You've said that it takes 24 hours to set a TU up, but how difficult / time consuming is it to destroy or hack one?  My thought is that they should be pretty easy to destroy, and medium difficulty to hack.  If they are well armoured and it takes a lot of fire power to bring one down then you have two problems:

1) They become an automatic, artificial military fortress.
2) An attacking force that routs an enemy from multiple hexes at once will have to grind their way through multiple TU's which is not only boring, but far too gamey, and not natural at all.

 

If they are easily taken down the implications will be somewhat different:

1) An organisation that puts up a TU will, by necessity, have to build a fortress of defences around it (or place within a fortress they already have).  This forces them to spend resources to defend their "flag" rather than it defending itself.  It also forces interesting choices: do you spend all of your resources on defences around the TU, or do you spend a proportion of your resources on defending operations around the whole hex, if so what proportion?

2) An attacking force that has routed an enemy from multiple hexes can knock down all the TU's and get to actually building in their newly claimed territory, and deploying their armed forces to their new assignments instead of having to spend time mindlessly knocking down a defeated enemy's structures.

3) In 2) above, an interesting choice arises.  They can very quickly destroy all the TU's, or if they have the ability and time, they can hack some/all of them.  If they do so they would have to build defences around them quickly.

 

My main concern is that warfare devolves into a "capture the flag" type exercise.  In a game like this warfare should revolve around strategic consideration based on supply lines, manufacturing/industrial/mining and resource control, not an artificial unit that grants territorial control.  How much thought has been put into this aspect?  Do you believe that the system you've devised will provide this kind of gameplay?

 

One final question before I move on to arkification.  Just how rare will the resources required for TU's be?  Will the areas where these resources are available have a finite amount or a limit on how much can be produced per sec/min/hr/day or will they be infinite and only limited by the number of players/sophistication of extraction equipment?  I'm trying to get an idea of what percentage of planetary hexes will nominally be claimed once the game is a few years in and some semblance of an equilibrium between destruction and building has been reached.

 

On the arkification of claimed territories I think it can be done, but needs to be severely limited.  My suggestions off the top of my head:

 

- only top level organisations can have an arkified territory (i.e. the organisation cannot be a member or legate of another organisation)

- only one arkified territory allowed per organisation

- once used, an arkification token is gone.  An organisation can decide to de-arkify a territory if they so wish, but they'd need another token if they wanted to put up another arkified territory.

- have some maximum number of arkified territories within the game universe - the number should not be known to players, arkification token should simply stop spawning, and their spawn rate should be sufficiently low that players can't really tell when the maximum has been reached.  Devs can change the maximum number if they think it is necessary, again, without the knowledge of the players.

- have some mechanism by which the invulnerability of arkified territories can be bypassed.  An idea is to have it possible to temporarily disable them by hacking (though only extremely skilled hackers can succeed, and even they will need luck).  Again, place some limit on this - the effect only lasts an hour or so before they come back online - and they are invulnerable to hacking for a week afterwards.  If the TU can be destroyed in that hour then the arkification is lost.

 

EDIT: If the goal with arkified territories is to ensure that additional no-PVP safe zones are created once real estate within the Arkship Secure Area is all used up, would it not be better to simply have some mechanism that generates a new ASA once they become partially full?  For example, if the game starts with a single ASA, once the plots on it are 50% full, another arkship lands on another planet.  New players might start at the new ASA or the first one.  Then, once at least 50% of each individual safe zone is taken, another ship lands on a third planet, and so on.

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As a builder, I don't think I have too much of offer here. But one thing I disagree with is no building inside of Arkified areas. I understand that balance needs to occur, but I think in order for DU to appeal to a large audience, there needs to be ways of going about that limit pvp interaction, unless its a straight up pvp game. I mean I know people who want to run shops, or build etc but may have little interest otherwise. For these people, pvp needs to be an 'engage when they want to' kind of activity. Think battlegrounds in world of warcraft but on PVE servers. Servers where players that do not want to pvp, do not need to but if that player chooses to do so, they can still get that fill inside of the battlegrounds. 

 

With DU being a single shard game, I think we have to make systems that give an appeal to a larger crowd than just pvp. I myself want to build ships and harvest and fly from place to place and explore. I don't mind pvp, but not at the cost of all my stuff, but this also kinda depends on how the game fleshes out. I love pvp in and of itself, but even when I played WoW, I went from a PVE server from A PVP server so I could level alts and harvest in peace.

 

I think safe havens are good things that can appeal to players less interested in combat, but I understand the abuse that can happen in safe zones but abuse can happen in pvp zones as well (griefing etc). 

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I like the territory control system, it sounds like it will encourage players to consider their movements much more strategically, and think about how they want to use their territory, as it sounds like both a rewarding, yet potentially challenging aspect of game play. What I do wonder is, what defences will territories have? How can we protect our assets in the geopolitical atmosphere that will inevitably arise (which is a good thing of course) ^_^ ?

 

I like the sound of Arkification, and I can see how this is a difficult one to do. I wonder if the combination of making the tokens rare, but also time limited might make for some interesting situations. For example if the token arkifies territory for one week only, so that it is not giving someone else permanent advantage over surrounding players or organisations. Yet at the same time, permanent Arkification would be pretty cool as well ;)

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In some games there have been options of being an active participant in combat, or a non combatant, by means of flagging.

 

Star Wars Galaxies offered an option to be overt or covert, overt meant you were actively supporting your faction and could be attacked any time. And Covert meant you could attack but you would become flagged for pvp for a certain ammount of time.

 

Whether or not you were pvp engaged buildings and item storage containers were not PVP accessible, Im not really sure people even among hardcore PVP players that they would want to tear down peoples houses, they might want to try and steal their items in storage, but I was thinking that stuff in storage would be off limits, and stuff on your body would be hardcore loot rules or semi hardcore where you might lose random items when you die that could either be lost to the server and deleted or gets left behind on your corpse that other people might be able to loot.

 

I cant say Im a fan of Arkification, its not something people will ever be happy with, one element of society will always be upset.

If you cant go in and fight, PVP'ers are mad. If you cant craft peacfully people will also be upset. -- If you can craft weapons of war in de facto invicibility theres a problem.

 

If it absolutely must exist though, then how about if an enemy force occupies a greater number of hexagonal faces, they can initiate a De Arkification process. if your faction/guild is really losing a war that badly this will give you some time, Im thinking 7 days- rounded up to 1200GMT in order to prevent late night or multi time zone conflict abuse, so that you can evacuate your precious belongings.

 

You might be a very lonely loner, but in an MMO you have to give a little trust to some people, so maybe there can be a special tag for home owners property owners, that will allow them to package your stuff up and move it for you, but not take item ownership, in the event of De-Arkification.

 

Nobody asked the romans if it was ok to sack rome ahead of time, so i feel that really is a gracious move to give your enemy a 7 day notice before tearing down their special place.

 

I suggest a formula for Arkified zones as, 1 max per guild of 25 Accounts or more, 1 arkification placement per planet per alliance.

If the game can recognize accounts and not just the character ID we should be able to prevent people from making many alternate characters and spamming Ark Tokens.

 

However, I'd also like to suggest and alternative to the current Arkification. Why does it have to be 100% one way or the other?

Is it possible that Arkification could be commonplace, and say have 6 Hexagons that are Arkified with different conditions than have been presented already.

 

1.) Ark tokens are hard to find / expensive to create

2.) You have to give more electricity / fuel / credits to power the Ark Field, and the more Arkified fields that touch the more power / fuel it takes to keep up (to the point where its completely unreasonable to power more than a specific ammount of Hex's, 6-15? whatever is tested upon and monitored after beta)

3.) They prevent destruction of buildings and looting of containers

4.) They allow players to mark themselves as non combatants within the parameter of the field, If you switch back to Combatant you have a small timer that prevents you from shooting / fighting right away and your NameTag / Lifebar / or some indicator will reveal to enemies / neutral's that you are switching to combatant. If you stand near the edges of the Field with a weapon equiped for too long you will become flagged, and experience a mild debuff for a short duration.

 

5.) The TU is quantum phased and immune to destruction and hacking unless the enemy completes a De-Arkification.
6.) De-Arkification, can be initiated by destroying 66% of surrounding TU, or by occupying a nearby Hex, the Time required to DeArkify will start at 14 days with only 1 Hex and go down to a max of 7 Days with 50% surrounding Occupation. -- Destruction will not weaken the Arkified TU, it will always take 14 days if you destroy the surrounding TU. If you Conquer 100% of surrounding TU the Arkified node will protect buildings but lose the power to give Non-Combatant status to players.

7.) I suggest for a death penalty, player have some small Item Durability decay instead of randomly losing items or letting people loot corpses - I suggest that players have a chance to drop several different quantum fabric or items that could be used in medium-rare grade, ammo / weapon / armor crafting 

8.) Optional thought, allow individuals or non guilded Accounts / players to arkify smaller houses individually and only initiate a destroy timer if that person is unable to pay the maintenance fee / keep the power going, or if theyve been offline for over ... 6 months allow another player to initate a 7 day destroy timer and send an email to their registered account reporting the event.

 

--If a guild voluntarily chooses to De-Arkify a TU shouldnt they get the Ark Token back?

 

There is probably much more to consider in terms of balancing Arkification, as Klatu Satori said  1) They become an automatic, artificial military fortress.    .It might be ok for them to be that way if its controlled. 7 days might be too much time, Im not sure without some testing (my thought was to give people at least one weekend to re-act). They could be a way of controlling where major battles for planets take place and establishing a "Front line" of combat

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The concept of arkification might be a great way to avoid the abusive grief of an entire state. Indeed as a player of Shores of Hazeron, a game that allows players to do anything without precise rules (including destroying an entire empire by capturing its cities), I have often seen that kind of things ; week, new states played by new people, were sometimes destroyed by powerful and much older empires. Including their capital city.

 

So I would say that protect at least the capital city would be a good thing, for it would give the players a rally point when all other cities would have fallen. Of course, we might see some cases like : several arkified cities on different hexagons, that could be permitted by an alliance of different states, or even an attacker that arkify a non-occupied hexagon so the planet owner cannot get rid of the invader ; one solution would consist in limit the arkification by one per planet to avoid it.

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The concept of arkification might be a great way to avoid the abusive grief of an entire state. Indeed as a player of Shores of Hazeron, a game that allows players to do anything without precise rules (including destroying an entire empire by capturing its cities), I have often seen that kind of things ; week, new states played by new people, were sometimes destroyed by powerful and much older empires. Including their capital city.

 

So I would say that protect at least the capital city would be a good thing, for it would give the players a rally point when all other cities would have fallen. Of course, we might see some cases like : several arkified cities on different hexagons, that could be permitted by an alliance of different states, or even an attacker that arkify a non-occupied hexagon so the planet owner cannot get rid of the invader ; one solution would consist in limit the arkification by one per planet to avoid it.

 

I would definitely rather a limit placed on how many arkified locations there are on a per planet basis. For a player empire to arkify an entire planet, would be rather one sided to say the least.

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Hello there,
 
Territory control works great with organizations and there are really good mechanisms here.
However, I have some concerns and questions about the implementation.
 
1. Territory capture process
 
It is said in 5th paragraph that :
Like any other asset, a tile is associated to a set of powers that define what can be done with it. For example: whether you can enter it, create constructs on it, mine it, open a market in it, etc.

... then a bit later : 

You can get control over a territory by "convincing" its owner or administrator to give a delegation to you, or, more traditionally, you can enter it, find the territory unit, destroy it and plant your own, or simply hack it.

=> I see a contradiction here : how can people capture/destroy TU if the owner just deny them the permission to enter territory ?

 
 
2. Territory control
 
I agree with Klatu Satori when he says :
My main concern is that warfare devolves into a "capture the flag" type exercise. In a game like this warfare should revolve around strategic consideration based on supply lines, manufacturing/industrial/mining and resource control, not an artificial unit that grants territorial control. How much thought has been put into this aspect?  Do you believe that the system you've devised will provide this kind of gameplay?

 

The gameplay where installing a TU and defending it gives you all power on a zone feels too much arbitrary and illogical.
 
For example, in real life, frontiers must be guarded. There are armies, police officers and so on to enforce ownership.
There is no centralized power that prevents Germany to come in France and mine rare resources.
If they do so, military forces will probably kick them out, but that's a localized reaction : France needs to send (or station) military forces in each area to enforce ownership.
 
Thus, I suggest a different approach described below.
  • TU can still be anchored and rights managed as describe in the devblog.
  • People can engage themselves and, for example, pay a fee in order to get the right to mine resources.
  • However, anyone can come and walk in the territory or mine resources, even if they were not authorized. In that case, TU flag them as criminal (or anything similar).
  • This flag doesn't do much by itself, but it is used by localized forces (automated turret, militia, war...) to identify and kick out the intruder.
This way, an organization will need to carefully protect critical assets while, maybe, giving less attention to others. Fortifying the TU will be important to keep ownership, but identifying and protecting resources will also become an important gameplay.
 
We can also consider emergent gameplay where a small group cannot attack a well defend TU, but plan to rush in a controlled territory, destroy automated frontier defense and mine a rare resource they cannot get elsewhere.
 
 

3. Other ideas

 

As owning territory will probably always provide benefits and bonuses (easy access to your resources, respawn nodes, territory knowledge, traps, etc.), it may also be interesting to provide some "free for all" tiles where TU cannot be installed.
We can imagine that these zones could be used for free PvP, house small hidden bases, be the only place to find a certain king of resource, etc.
 

For example, we can imagine that TU don't work in polar tiles because of magnetic perturbation... perturbation which can be used to power a dedicated, high efficiency, generator.

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Hi everyone!

 

First thing first: thanks a lot for all the feedback you posted on the topic.

It took time to discuss internally all the things mentioned but now we can finally give you detailed answers :)

To avoid generating a global, messy reply, the suggestions will be replied to individually.

 

Best regards, 

Nyzaltar.

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I think arktification can be handled pretty nicely if its linked to the type of organization its owned by.

Private property, guild owned tiles and similar should not be arkiticeable, but if organizations of the type "state" build a city on one or several tiles which is labeled as capital, then it should be arktifieable. That means every state-like organization which has a certain size can make their capital a safe-zone. At the same time that Arktification can be removed for other states which are officially in war with the tile owning organization. That gives the players a protection zone against other players or guilds but doesnt make it completely save forever.

 

Ofc rather than being a safe-zone in which attacking and killing is not possible i'd rather have one where its still possible, but where guard robots or drones will instakill any offender.

 

The main idea behind arkification is to give a very early opportunity for non-PvP players to build in a secure area of their choice, without being interrupted while doing so. On the other side, having entire arkified cities, even empires, is something we want to avoid (or else, the PVP will be dramatically limited). So right now, the discussion in the team about this topic is going in the opposite direction of what you suggest: enabling players at a personal level to have a small indestructible territory, but not allowing organizations to have some, to avoid locking large territories by this process. Furthermore, as organizations aren't tightly defined in the game (it could be a corporation as well as a nation, a player can be member of a corporation as well as a nation, etc), this would multiply risks of exploit (using the system not as it was intended) for indestructible controlled territories. However nothing is set in stone yet, and should we find (or receive from the community) solid reasons to go the opposite way, we could change our mind: we are at a stage where we can still reverse the design on this part ;)

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I also have an idea that can be added on to the territory node/Centralized Territory Units part as well. The idea is to have the ability to make smaller Nodes that are linked to each Territory Node in a single territory tile that have to be destroyed/hacked first before you can go after the Territory Node. 

 

 

 

 

Thanks a lot for the suggestion. This is a very interesting idea!

 

 

 

I like the idea and I think it should be used as a Non-PvP area that acts as a safe haven in remote areas across the surface of the planet. In this Arkified Territory, players that own this territory can always Mine, Harvest, Trade, and build on it but no PvP should be permitted (except one exception that I'll mention below for PvP inside the Arkified tile). I also agree with limiting the right to Arkify a Tile to the fact that there is no other Arkified Tile in a given radius, so in short, I think that there shouldn't be too many of these. I also think in order to Arkify a tile, it should be a neutral tile and would use one of the Arkify Tokens that was mentioned. These tokens would be very rare to find as they should spawn randomly across the planet (In caves, on the surface, under the ocean, or pretty much anywhere lol). As for De-Arkifying a tile goes, I think to have a tile De-Arkified, all the the territories bordering it must be owned by the same faction/group/player. Now, I can see Arkified tiles having an affect on PvP battles/wars. I can see players using Arkified tiles as strategic staging points in their battle/war, but keep in mind, most likely, there will be players finding ways to abuse them as indestructible safe zones to attack out of. For example: to run out of the shield (or cross the border of the Arkified area), shoot at the enemy, then run back in because the other faction/group cant kill them because they are inside the safe zone. This would be one of the problems that would come from adding in Arkified Tiles/territories. One idea I had that could solve this is that if your faction is engaged in a battle/war, you are still flagged for PvP even inside the Arkified tile/territory but you can only be killed by the faction/group that you are at war with (this would be the one exception I mentioned earlier for PvP inside the Arkified tile).

 

About your suggestion on Arkified Territories, this is globally the current team thoughts: No PvP Allowed in an Arkified Territory, except for those who have engaged PvP actions recently, with a timer indicating the time remaining during which the PvP player involved can be targeted, even in an Arkified Territory. However, there are still problem to solve like the following: If buildings in an arkified area are not destructible nor hackable... Then how to reach a PvP player who lock himself into that kind of building until the PvP timer wears off? Not an easy problem to solve. That's why we are still searching for a better compromise.

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The treatment of territories as assets just like any other is excellent and allows for interesting organisation structures and intrigue.  I've got some concerns about how Territorial Units (TU's) will affect wars though.  You've said that it takes 24 hours to set a TU up, but how difficult / time consuming is it to destroy or hack one?  My thought is that they should be pretty easy to destroy, and medium difficulty to hack.  If they are well armoured and it takes a lot of fire power to bring one down then you have two problems:

 

1) They become an automatic, artificial military fortress.

2) An attacking force that routs an enemy from multiple hexes at once will have to grind their way through multiple TU's which is not only boring, but far too gamey, and not natural at all.

 

If they are easily taken down the implications will be somewhat different:

 

1) An organisation that puts up a TU will, by necessity, have to build a fortress of defences around it (or place within a fortress they already have).  This forces them to spend resources to defend their "flag" rather than it defending itself.  It also forces interesting choices: do you spend all of your resources on defences around the TU, or do you spend a proportion of your resources on defending operations around the whole hex, if so what proportion?

2) An attacking force that has routed an enemy from multiple hexes can knock down all the TU's and get to actually building in their newly claimed territory, and deploying their armed forces to their new assignments instead of having to spend time mindlessly knocking down a defeated enemy's structures.

3) In 2) above, an interesting choice arises.  They can very quickly destroy all the TU's, or if they have the ability and time, they can hack some/all of them.  If they do so they would have to build defences around them quickly.

 

My main concern is that warfare devolves into a "capture the flag" type exercise.  In a game like this warfare should revolve around strategic consideration based on supply lines, manufacturing/industrial/mining and resource control, not an artificial unit that grants territorial control.  How much thought has been put into this aspect?  Do you believe that the system you've devised will provide this kind of gameplay?

 

 

This is too early to explain in details how difficult/time consuming it will be to destroy or hack a Territory Unit. Keep in mind this is an advanced feature: This won't be in Alpha. Only in Beta. And to announce right now how the balance will be wouldn?t be realistic, while we haven't talked about the combat system itself yet. Same thing for the hacking system. There will be a bit of "capture the flag" in the process, but this won't be that simple.
 
However, what we can say about it are the main design ideas we have in mind: 
 
1) Having a Time window for TU owner to react to an aggression: we don't want to see players feeling the need to be on guard 24h/24 7d/7 in the game. So after an attack lowering the shield or structure of the TU to a certain point, or a succeeded attempt to hack the TU, the involved unit will enter a temporary invulnerability mode (probably between a 24h and 48h time window). 
 
2) It's only after the temporary invulnerability mode has faded that the real attack hack can begin, and you should expect defensive from the owner(s). The victory will be decided by the most prepared side. Players in defense will have a "Stand your ground" scenario while players in attack will have a "Capture the Flag" scenario.
 
3) If the owner(s) didn't show themselves once the temporary invulnerability has faded, then destroying or hacking will probably be a matter of minutes (we are aware that shooting repeatedly for hours at something to destroy it is boring, so, if no resistance is encountered, the unit should be taken down quickly).
 
?

One final question before I move on to arkification.  Just how rare will the resources required for TU's be?  Will the areas where these resources are available have a finite amount or a limit on how much can be produced per sec/min/hr/day or will they be infinite and only limited by the number of players/sophistication of extraction equipment?  I'm trying to get an idea of what percentage of planetary hexes will nominally be claimed once the game is a few years in and some semblance of an equilibrium between destruction and building has been reached.

 

On the arkification of claimed territories I think it can be done, but needs to be severely limited.  My suggestions off the top of my head:

 

- only top level organisations can have an arkified territory (i.e. the organisation cannot be a member or legate of another organisation)

- only one arkified territory allowed per organisation

- once used, an arkification token is gone.  An organisation can decide to de-arkify a territory if they so wish, but they'd need another token if they wanted to put up another arkified territory.

- have some maximum number of arkified territories within the game universe - the number should not be known to players, arkification token should simply stop spawning, and their spawn rate should be sufficiently low that players can't really tell when the maximum has been reached.  Devs can change the maximum number if they think it is necessary, again, without the knowledge of the players.

- have some mechanism by which the invulnerability of arkified territories can be bypassed.  An idea is to have it possible to temporarily disable them by hacking (though only extremely skilled hackers can succeed, and even they will need luck).  Again, place some limit on this - the effect only lasts an hour or so before they come back online - and they are invulnerable to hacking for a week afterwards.  If the TU can be destroyed in that hour then the arkification is lost.

 
There is probably a misunderstanding here about arkification. The design ideas behind it are the following:
- This is not a feature to give some privilege to top organizations which will have already enough resources and manpower to defend themselves.
- This is more a feature intended to keep non-PvP players protected from bullying/blackmailing/harassment/attacks that big PvP organizations could attempt on them. The feature is especially intended to protect those who want to build without being interrupted, those who just want to be shopkeepers or industrialists, and/or don't want to get PvP experience. Those kind of players need to feel safe to play the way they want to enjoy the game and participate efficiently to an emergent, player-driven economy.
- An arkified territory must stay invulnerable at all time. If there is a way to bypass it, then the feature is meaningless.

 

?

EDIT: If the goal with arkified territories is to ensure that additional no-PVP safe zones are created once real estate within the Arkship Secure Area is all used up, would it not be better to simply have some mechanism that generates a new ASA once they become partially full?  For example, if the game starts with a single ASA, once the plots on it are 50% full, another arkship lands on another planet.  New players might start at the new ASA or the first one.  Then, once at least 50% of each individual safe zone is taken, another ship lands on a third planet, and so on.

 

This has been an idea that came in the team discussion a few months ago. However, the problem is the following: we don't want to divide the community right from the start. If the player population grow faster than their ability to make long distance space travels, then the community will be divided as a matter of fact. And what about players inviting friends that can't start on the same planet? The idea is interesting but it brings some problems to tackle.

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As a builder, I don't think I have too much of offer here. But one thing I disagree with is no building inside of Arkified areas. I understand that balance needs to occur, but I think in order for DU to appeal to a large audience, there needs to be ways of going about that limit pvp interaction, unless its a straight up pvp game. I mean I know people who want to run shops, or build etc but may have little interest otherwise. For these people, pvp needs to be an 'engage when they want to' kind of activity. Think battlegrounds in world of warcraft but on PVE servers. Servers where players that do not want to pvp, do not need to but if that player chooses to do so, they can still get that fill inside of the battlegrounds. 

 

With DU being a single shard game, I think we have to make systems that give an appeal to a larger crowd than just pvp. I myself want to build ships and harvest and fly from place to place and explore. I don't mind pvp, but not at the cost of all my stuff, but this also kinda depends on how the game fleshes out. I love pvp in and of itself, but even when I played WoW, I went from a PVE server from A PVP server so I could level alts and harvest in peace.

 

I think safe havens are good things that can appeal to players less interested in combat, but I understand the abuse that can happen in safe zones but abuse can happen in pvp zones as well (griefing etc). 

 

We are aware that a fair number of players, especially those like to build without counting hours, are generally not into PvP activities (or at least not during the time they are building). The Arkification concept is there precisely for them to enjoy the game without having their fun spoiled by a PvP incident.

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In some games there have been options of being an active participant in combat, or a non combatant, by means of flagging.

 

Star Wars Galaxies offered an option to be overt or covert, overt meant you were actively supporting your faction and could be attacked any time. And Covert meant you could attack but you would become flagged for pvp for a certain ammount of time.

 

Whether or not you were pvp engaged buildings and item storage containers were not PVP accessible, Im not really sure people even among hardcore PVP players that they would want to tear down peoples houses, they might want to try and steal their items in storage, but I was thinking that stuff in storage would be off limits, and stuff on your body would be hardcore loot rules or semi hardcore where you might lose random items when you die that could either be lost to the server and deleted or gets left behind on your corpse that other people might be able to loot.

 

The Star Wars Galaxies concept is interesting! It will be transmitted to the devs to see what they think about it :). About the PvP players behaviour: Of course, most of them won't have the idea to destroy things just for the sake of destroying it, if there are no gain. But there will always be a few of them who will think "if it's not forbidden, then I will do it". And even if there are a minority at the beginning, the frustrated players they will bother this way will start to think "if they are doing it and nobody stop them, then I will do it myself: there's no reason why I should be the the victim in this story!". And then the number of players starting to act badly will grow. This is quite a classic vicious circle.
 

I cant say Im a fan of Arkification, its not something people will ever be happy with, one element of society will always be upset.

If you cant go in and fight, PVP'ers are mad. If you cant craft peacfully people will also be upset. -- If you can craft weapons of war in de facto invicibility theres a problem.

 

If it absolutely must exist though, then how about if an enemy force occupies a greater number of hexagonal faces, they can initiate a De Arkification process. if your faction/guild is really losing a war that badly this will give you some time, Im thinking 7 days- rounded up to 1200GMT in order to prevent late night or multi time zone conflict abuse, so that you can evacuate your precious belongings.

 

You might be a very lonely loner, but in an MMO you have to give a little trust to some people, so maybe there can be a special tag for home owners property owners, that will allow them to package your stuff up and move it for you, but not take item ownership, in the event of De-Arkification.

 

Nobody asked the romans if it was ok to sack rome ahead of time, so i feel that really is a gracious move to give your enemy a 7 day notice before tearing down their special place.

 

You're perfectly right: Arkification concept has some inherent dangers, especially the one of becoming the way to have an indestructible weapon factor. 
 
However, frustrating PvP players is something that will happen inevitably (unless we put no restrictions to PvP and that would be no good for the game future): even in games like EvE Online there ARE safe zones. When a PvP player see a "prey" (generally a non-PvP player) he was chasing through several solar systems successfully docking in a space station, it's natural he feels frustrated. But that's part of the game: if the PvP player catches his prey, he wins. If the prey successfully reach its destination, he loses. To keep the game interesting, it's not reasonable to let PvP players always win over non-PvP players. 
 
Your suggestions about de-arkification process will clearly interest the devs. It has already been transmitted to them. Thanks a lot for the feedback! :) 
 

I suggest a formula for Arkified zones as, 1 max per guild of 25 Accounts or more, 1 arkification placement per planet per alliance.

If the game can recognize accounts and not just the character ID we should be able to prevent people from making many alternate characters and spamming Ark Tokens.

 

However, I'd also like to suggest and alternative to the current Arkification. Why does it have to be 100% one way or the other?

Is it possible that Arkification could be commonplace, and say have 6 Hexagons that are Arkified with different conditions than have been presented already.

 

1.) Ark tokens are hard to find / expensive to create

2.) You have to give more electricity / fuel / credits to power the Ark Field, and the more Arkified fields that touch the more power / fuel it takes to keep up (to the point where its completely unreasonable to power more than a specific ammount of Hex's, 6-15? whatever is tested upon and monitored after beta)

3.) They prevent destruction of buildings and looting of containers

4.) They allow players to mark themselves as non combatants within the parameter of the field, If you switch back to Combatant you have a small timer that prevents you from shooting / fighting right away and your NameTag / Lifebar / or some indicator will reveal to enemies / neutral's that you are switching to combatant. If you stand near the edges of the Field with a weapon equiped for too long you will become flagged, and experience a mild debuff for a short duration.

 

5.) The TU is quantum phased and immune to destruction and hacking unless the enemy completes a De-Arkification.

6.) De-Arkification, can be initiated by destroying 66% of surrounding TU, or by occupying a nearby Hex, the Time required to DeArkify will start at 14 days with only 1 Hex and go down to a max of 7 Days with 50% surrounding Occupation. -- Destruction will not weaken the Arkified TU, it will always take 14 days if you destroy the surrounding TU. If you Conquer 100% of surrounding TU the Arkified node will protect buildings but lose the power to give Non-Combatant status to players.

7.) I suggest for a death penalty, player have some small Item Durability decay instead of randomly losing items or letting people loot corpses - I suggest that players have a chance to drop several different quantum fabric or items that could be used in medium-rare grade, ammo / weapon / armor crafting 

8.) Optional thought, allow individuals or non guilded Accounts / players to arkify smaller houses individually and only initiate a destroy timer if that person is unable to pay the maintenance fee / keep the power going, or if theyve been offline for over ... 6 months allow another player to initate a 7 day destroy timer and send an email to their registered account reporting the event.

 

--If a guild voluntarily chooses to De-Arkify a TU shouldnt they get the Ark Token back?

 

There is probably much more to consider in terms of balancing Arkification, as Klatu Satori said  1) They become an automatic, artificial military fortress.    .It might be ok for them to be that way if its controlled. 7 days might be too much time, Im not sure without some testing (my thought was to give people at least one weekend to re-act). They could be a way of controlling where major battles for planets take place and establishing a "Front line" of combat

 

As mentioned in answer to Klatu Satori, the Arkification concept is not meant to give an advantage to an organization, but really to give the opportunity to players not interested in PvP to get a safe zone where to build, trade or roleplay. And it makes no sense to put a prerequisite to be part of an organization, as the player might very well want to be on his/her own.

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I like the territory control system, it sounds like it will encourage players to consider their movements much more strategically, and think about how they want to use their territory, as it sounds like both a rewarding, yet potentially challenging aspect of game play. What I do wonder is, what defences will territories have? How can we protect our assets in the geopolitical atmosphere that will inevitably arise (which is a good thing of course) ^_^ ?

 

I like the sound of Arkification, and I can see how this is a difficult one to do. I wonder if the combination of making the tokens rare, but also time limited might make for some interesting situations. For example if the token arkifies territory for one week only, so that it is not giving someone else permanent advantage over surrounding players or organisations. Yet at the same time, permanent Arkification would be pretty cool as well ;)

 

The territories will have the defences their owner will build.

We want to protect builder assets while the geopolitical atmosphere will start to be tense (because it's just a matter of time before that will occur ;)): the arkification is precisely the concept imagined for that. But it's far from being perfect right now. Limiting the duration of an arkification token might be an idea, but we must also take in account about players leaving the game for a long time, and going back afterwards. 

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1. Territory capture process
It is said in 5th paragraph that :

... then a bit later : 

=> I see a contradiction here : how can people capture/destroy TU if the owner just deny them the permission to enter territory ?

 

Really good question, indeed.
While it was clear in our mind, this definitely can be seen as confusing from the outside.
In fact, when it is said that the permission to enter a territory is denied, it doesn't mean you can't enter the territory. It means that if you do, you will be automatically tagged as "intruder", and as such, if there are automatized defenses (managed with LUA script), those will probably shoot you on sight. On the other hand, totally independently from the Rights & Duties Management System, it will also be possible to build a force shield to protect a territory and prevent someone to enter... BUT this kind of shield will be possible to destroy or drain. There is also the 3rd case: the Arkified Territory. As this point is still subject to discussions, it's a bit early to give a clear description about this feature. 
 

 

For example, in real life, frontiers must be guarded. There are armies, police officers and so on to enforce ownership.
There is no centralized power that prevents Germany to come in France and mine rare resources.
If they do so, military forces will probably kick them out, but that's a localized reaction : France needs to send (or station) military forces in each area to enforce ownership.

 

We can't really compare contemporary real life and a Sci-Fi MMO like Dual Universe:
The game takes place thousand of years in the future. Even before the Arkship Exodus, the technology has evolved during centuries on Earth. You can assume that, as this point, many things have been automatized, especially in military defense sector.
 

 

Thus, I suggest a different approach described below.
  • TU can still be anchored and rights managed as describe in the devblog.
  • People can engage themselves and, for example, pay a fee in order to get the right to mine resources.
  • However, anyone can come and walk in the territory or mine resources, even if they were not authorized. In that case, TU flag them as criminal (or anything similar).
  • This flag doesn't do much by itself, but it is used by localized forces (automated turret, militia, war...) to identify and kick out the intruder.
This way, an organization will need to carefully protect critical assets while, maybe, giving less attention to others. Fortifying the TU will be important to keep ownership, but identifying and protecting resources will also become an important gameplay.
 
We can also consider emergent gameplay where a small group cannot attack a well defend TU, but plan to rush in a controlled territory, destroy automated frontier defense and mine a rare resource they cannot get elsewhere.

 

As mentioned above, this is exactly the kind of gameplay we intend to put in place ;)
 

 

3. Other ideas

 

As owning territory will probably always provide benefits and bonuses (easy access to your resources, respawn nodes, territory knowledge, traps, etc.), it may also be interesting to provide some "free for all" tiles where TU cannot be installed.
We can imagine that these zones could be used for free PvP, house small hidden bases, be the only place to find a certain king of resource, etc.
 

For example, we can imagine that TU don't work in polar tiles because of magnetic perturbation... perturbation which can be used to power a dedicated, high efficiency, generator.

 

Excellent ideas! These are already transmitted to the devs :)

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Hi there,

 

Thanks for the answers Nyzaltar.

 

Some more thoughts to move further.

 

About your suggestion on Arkified Territories, this is globally the current team thoughts: No PvP Allowed in an Arkified Territory, except for those who have engaged PvP actions recently, with a timer indicating the time remaining during which the PvP player involved can be targeted, even in an Arkified Territory. However, there are still problem to solve like the following: If buildings in an arkified area are not destructible nor hackable... Then how to reach a PvP player who lock himself into that kind of building until the PvP timer wears off? Not an easy problem to solve. That's why we are still searching for a better compromise.

About PvPers entering Arkified zone, I suggest to keep things simple and easy to understand : if someone engages in PvP, he/she cannot enter Arkified territory untill timer expires.

Else, things get complex and messy, as Nyzaltar said. I add that you must also consider potential help from players inside the Arkified zone : what if someone heal the PvPer (if possible in game, just an example) or if someone pick him/her up in a ship ? Should the second player becomes flagged and a potential target too ? And so on...

 

This has been an idea that came in the team discussion a few months ago. However, the problem is the following: we don't want to divide the community right from the start. If the player population grow faster than their ability to make long distance space travels, then the community will be divided as a matter of fact. And what about players inviting friends that can't start on the same planet? The idea is interesting but it brings some problems to tackle.

I agree that several spawn points would be a bad idea.

But if it was necessary anyway, some suggestions :

-> Add Arkships when an area becomes crowded (let say 50% to 75% of the "acceptable") and let people choose which Arkship they want to spawn in (so they can gather on the same territory, like friends choose the same server in a multi-shard game).

-> Allow a kind of automatic and slow transport system between Arkships so friends can regroup (for example, one trip per day requiring a few offline hours). For lore reasons, we can also imagine being able to respawn on the another Arkship Resurrection Node.

First idea has my preference.

 

However, frustrating PvP players is something that will happen inevitably (unless we put no restrictions to PvP and that would be no good for the game future): even in games like EvE Online there ARE safe zones. When a PvP player see a "prey" (generally a non-PvP player) he was chasing through several solar systems successfully docking in a space station, it's natural he feels frustrated. But that's part of the game: if the PvP player catches his prey, he wins. If the prey successfully reach its destination, he loses. To keep the game interesting, it's not reasonable to let PvP players always win over non-PvP players.

Moreover, catching a "prey" if the prey has no escape solution is not good for PvP either. If the hunter always win, where is the challenge ?

 

In fact, when it is said that the permission to enter a territory is denied, it doesn't mean you can't enter the territory. It means that if you do, you will be automatically tagged as "intruder", and as such, if there are automatized defenses (managed with LUA script), those will probably shoot you on sight. On the other hand, totally independently from the Rights & Duties Management System, it will also be possible to build a force shield to protect a territory and prevent someone to enter... BUT this kind of shield will be possible to destroy or drain. There is also the 3rd case: the Arkified Territory. As this point is still subject to discussions, it's a bit early to give a clear description about this feature. 

Good to hear  :).

About the shield defense, may I suggest that it does not automatically covers the whole territory ? Else territory incursion will only be possible for large groups able to destroy that shield and not for small entities who want to plan a blitz-raid in a low protected area.

 

Regards,

Shadow

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The main idea behind arkification is to give a very early opportunity for non-PvP players to build in a secure area of their choice, without being interrupted while doing so. On the other side, having entire arkified cities, even empires, is something we want to avoid (or else, the PVP will be dramatically limited). So right now, the discussion in the team about this topic is going in the opposite direction of what you suggest: enabling players at a personal level to have a small indestructible territory, but not allowing organizations to have some, to avoid locking large territories by this process. Furthermore, as organizations aren't tightly defined in the game (it could be a corporation as well as a nation, a player can be member of a corporation as well as a nation, etc), this would multiply risks of exploit (using the system not as it was intended) for indestructible controlled territories. However nothing is set in stone yet, and should we find (or receive from the community) solid reasons to go the opposite way, we could change our mind: we are at a stage where we can still reverse the design on this part ;)

 

i c, i thought its desireable to avoid many small arctified areas, but looking at a big part of the targeted audience, the pve builders, i guess it does make more sense to have those small areas instead of a few big ones.

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Thanks for the response Nyzaltar.  Much appreciated.  Here are my thoughts.

 

 

This is too early to explain in details how difficult/time consuming it will be to destroy or hack a Territory Unit. Keep in mind this is an advanced feature: This won't be in Alpha. Only in Beta. And to announce right now how the balance will be wouldn?t be realistic, while we haven't talked about the combat system itself yet. Same thing for the hacking system. There will be a bit of "capture the flag" in the process, but this won't be that simple.
 
However, what we can say about it are the main design ideas we have in mind: 
 
1) Having a Time window for TU owner to react to an aggression: we don't want to see players feeling the need to be on guard 24h/24 7d/7 in the game. So after an attack lowering the shield or structure of the TU to a certain point, or a succeeded attempt to hack the TU, the involved unit will enter a temporary invulnerability mode (probably between a 24h and 48h time window). 
 
2) It's only after the temporary invulnerability mode has faded that the real attack hack can begin, and you should expect defensive from the owner(s). The victory will be decided by the most prepared side. Players in defense will have a "Stand your ground" scenario while players in attack will have a "Capture the Flag" scenario.
 
3) If the owner(s) didn't show themselves once the temporary invulnerability has faded, then destroying or hacking will probably be a matter of minutes (we are aware that shooting repeatedly for hours at something to destroy it is boring, so, if no resistance is encountered, the unit should be taken down quickly).

 

This sounds okay.  It is very similar to Eve, and yet seems better suited to DU.  It might be good to incoporate the level of defence that was put up into the length of the invulnerability period, but I understand it is too early to be thinking about those kind of details at this point.

 

 

There is probably a misunderstanding here about arkification. The design ideas behind it are the following:

- This is not a feature to give some privilege to top organizations which will have already enough resources and manpower to defend themselves.
- This is more a feature intended to keep non-PvP players protected from bullying/blackmailing/harassment/attacks that big PvP organizations could attempt on them. The feature is especially intended to protect those who want to build without being interrupted, those who just want to be shopkeepers or industrialists, and/or don't want to get PvP experience. Those kind of players need to feel safe to play the way they want to enjoy the game and participate efficiently to an emergent, player-driven economy.
- An arkified territory must stay invulnerable at all time. If there is a way to bypass it, then the feature is meaningless.

 

Well, an implication of my idea is that a solo player could put up an arkified territory for himself by creating a one man organisation.  A concern I was trying to address was an organisation with lots of members/member organisations would be able to have an arkified territory per member/member organisation.  What would stop players from doing this?  You could go in the other direction and say only players who are not members of any organisation can have an arkified territory, but is that fair?  Maybe it is.  This leads to another question.  Isn't an entire territory too big for a single player?  Under this system it seems necessary to split territories up into lots of small regions.  Then you can say only regions may be arkified and only solo players can have an arkified region.  I think there are pros and cons to both approaches.

 

 

This has been an idea that came in the team discussion a few months ago. However, the problem is the following: we don't want to divide the community right from the start. If the player population grow faster than their ability to make long distance space travels, then the community will be divided as a matter of fact. And what about players inviting friends that can't start on the same planet? The idea is interesting but it brings some problems to tackle.

 

Yes, I can see the problems there.  They're not insurmountable problems but they definitely need to be addressed.  You probably don't want to split your player base up at an early stage (though it might actually produce some interesting results once travel between the different starting planets becomes possible).  Part of the problem depends on how many players can be supported by a single Arkship Security Zone.  If it's as many as a thousand then it might not be a big problem provided players are allowed to choose which planet they start on.

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One last very important point about territory tiles is the notion of "arkification". Arkification is the process by which you could turn your territory into a non-PvP area, similar to the safe area around the Arkship. Arkified tiles would be incredibly powerful areas, as they cannot be hacked, conquered, destroyed or tampered with in any way. No need to say, this notion is a very sensitive gameplay aspect, and we have not yet decided precisely how and if it can be integrated in the game. Alternatives to it is simply to say that you can hide your stuff deep underground on a remote planet, or within the heavily guarded castle of your powerful organization. But these ideas are not totally safe.
 
One idea we are playing with is that explorers in the game could sometime discover an "arkification token", a mysterious item that can be used to enhance a Territory Unit to the ?arkified? status. It would take about one week to arkify a territory tile, so it cannot be a quick and easy way to hide during battle. We are not sure however at this stage what kind of restrictions we should put on their use: if they are to be used as safe havens in remote areas, should we limit the right to arkify a tile to the fact that there is no other arkified tile in a given radius? No claimed tile at all? No construct even? Should it be allowed to de-arkify a tile (in other words: are tokens reusable)? What kind of abuse to the PvP gameplay should we fear? We are aware of how sensitive and complex these issues have been in other games, but we reckon that there must be a way for a player to feel reasonably safe about his/her assets when offline for long periods of time. We would like to have your opinion on this, start a debate about arkification or perhaps even other mechanisms.
 
The interplay of all these aspects is a complex emergent system of cross-interests, not unlike real world geopolitics and international business interests. We will have to test it heavily with the community to make sure that there is always an equilibrium and no obvious winning strategy. Meanwhile, we'll be very interested to know what you think about it!

 

Has the team considered completely disconnecting arkification from territorial ownership?

 

Any player may arkify a territory if they meet the following criteria:

 

a) the player uses up an arkification token

B) the territory is not claimed, i.e. there is no TU;

c) none of the territories within x radius are claimed;

d) none of the territories within y radius are arkified / Arkship Safe Zones;

e) there at most only z other arkified territories on the planet.

 

Once arkified a hex is permanently arkified and claiming territories within the radius specified in B) is no longer possible.  The arkified hex is a freeport.  Any player can travel to it, through it, live in it, use it in any way they see fit.

 

Arkification of claimed territories has many problems associated with it such as throwing risk/reward out of balance, encouraging turtling, diminishing "job" opportunities for combat oriented players (on both the offensive and defensive sides of the coin), forcing centralisation of non-combat oriented players - which in turn feeds back into the previous points, allowing permanent claiming of the most valuable territories, and many more.  Perhaps having arkified territories as isolated freeports side steps these issues while still protecting creative, non-combat oriented and solo players.

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In Landmark, We have build sites.  they limited us to a max of 8 of these.  Each build site is 525 voxel block wide x525 voxel blocks deep x450 voxel block height.

 

now on each build site we once had to pay a weekly maintenance on each build site.

 

I would not mind having to a rent/fee  in game to maintain a hex for an arkified base, town, starport that was pvp proof.

 

I may have missed it but how big is each hex? I know from 1k above to the center downwards, but how many voxels, is each side of the hex?

 

I would also like to know if there will be a buffer zone between me and my neighbors?

Also if there is a buffer zone in or around my HEX, if I am able to grab more hexes surrounding my main hex to build a bigger spaceport, will the buffer zones merge to allow me to actually expand?

 

I am Thinking of something like Mos Eisily, small town with shops, vendors, bars and a starport.

 

So depending on the HEX size, I could then calculate how many surrounding HEXS I may need.

 

I dont want to have another RUST, ARK game where I need to log in, rebuild and replenish every day.  I stopped playing them mostly to players who like to raid my bases when I am off line.

 

But I also dont want to see it like SWG once was with abandoned homes, buildings and facilties littering the land all over.  H1Z1 PVE has a crap load of crapshacks as well, but they do have a decay which makes them disappear if not maintained.

 

But please do not make it purely PVP. I want a safe area to build from that is my own and not in the starter ark areas.  I can understand making it hard to create this area. but once done, if I don't maintain it, sure, but I'm raided every night, that is going to suck and make me want to quit.

 

Flaging oneself for PVP or having open pvp areas is fine.  But I would like the option like in the old SWG.

 

BTW this is great for making in game movies.  non flagged players cant be killed while filming.

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This all seems overly complicated. To the regular MMO player I would guess to them it would be a steep learning curve and most wouldn't bother. Sitting here reading all of this to me seems highly complex and for me I probably wouldn't participate in it. Does this system reach into space as well as far as owning a space station of outpost? Would this be applied to regions of space?

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This all seems overly complicated. To the regular MMO player I would guess to them it would be a steep learning curve and most wouldn't bother. Sitting here reading all of this to me seems highly complex and for me I probably wouldn't participate in it. Does this system reach into space as well as far as owning a space station of outpost? Would this be applied to regions of space?

 

There have been discussions about bubble territories in space. So i'd imagine anything that happens on planets would be identical to that in space, with the obvious difference of zero g and no ground... 

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